Black Peoples' Day of Action - Black workers on the march

On the Black Peoples Day of Action, Central London witnessed a clear display of the hatred and anger felt by black working class people for the 'National Front in police uniform', the racist organisations and the imperialist institutions they defend. It was the most significant sign of the revolutionary militancy of the black working class for many years. Black people showed once again that they would not be the victims of racism, but the revolutionary fighters against their racist oppressors.

Organised by the New Cross Massacre Action Committee the march was a militant response to the lies and distortions of the press, the inactivity of the police, the total indifference of Parliament and local Labour MP, John Silkin, to the massacre of 13 black children by fascist murderers.

15,000 people joined the march and their placards and slogans made their feelings clear: New Cross Massacre Cover Up; Forward to Freedom, Babylon will fall; No stopping us now we are on the move; No Rights, No Obligations.

At the March a declaration was made. Called the New Cross Declaration it said:

'The New Cross Black People's Day of Action is another stage in the response of the black people, of our allies in the country to this savagery and this barbarism. We warn the country and the world there will be no social peace while blacks are attacked, killed, injured and maimed with impunity on the streets or in our homes.'

The marchers, from all over the country and including a contingent of FRFI supporters, marched from New Cross through central London to Hyde Park, resisting police attempts to halt the march.

Although a route over Blackfriars Bridge and into the City had been agreed with the police, suddenly at Blackfriars Bridge the marchers confronted two lines of police with riot shields. The police had decided to try to keep the angry march of black people out of the City and Fleet Street. The youth would have none of this and fought to get through the police lines. They broke through and triumphantly surged over Blackfriars Bridge. The police were forced to retreat and regroup.

Along the way symbols of wealth, a bank and a jeweller's shop, fell victim to a hail of bricks and stones: journalists who quite rightly are seen as siding with the racist British state got rough justice; a black policeman was told in no uncertain terms that he was a traitor and would pay for it; when a youth was arrested the march came to an immediate halt shouting 'Let him go!' which the police were forced to do as the marchers refused to move without their captured comrade. When two white children of about 9 years old ran to join the march the police shouted at them asking what the hell they were doing. Black youths immediately went and stood protectively between the police and the children.

Later on, near Oxford Street the police again threw a cordon across a side street. Mounted police, in an act of provocation rode through the march blocking off streets. One policeman who tried to kick a marcher got what he deserved as he and the rest of the cordon met with a barrage of bricks, stones, litter bins and umbrellas. The police then charged down the street on horseback scattering people in their path.

As the march moved on to Hyde Park, traffic in Oxford Street and Regent Street was brought to a standstill and city gents cowered in their offices terrified at the sight of the oppressed demanding justice.

The March was a fine example to the working class. It put to shame the so-called revolutionaries of the petit-bourgeois left who allow the police to play havoc with their demonstrations, arrest and beat people willy nilly and do nothing about it. This demonstration showed that the vanguard forces of the British revolution are the black youth who will fearlessly take on and do battle with the forces of the state. In doing so they are showing the rest of the working class the only way forward in the struggle against oppression.

No doubt the spineless cowards of the petit bourgeois left will recoil at such a thought arguing that it isn't the proper way to fight racism. Already the CP has said that

'No one is going to excuse the outbreaks of violence which undoubtedly took place'.

How wrong the CP is. All true revolutionaries and communists will see the resistance of the youth as a splendid example of revolutionary working class means of fighting oppression. Far from needing to 'excuse' it we rejoice that one section of the working class is on the road to revolution.


The ruling class press owned by millionaires and staffed by highly paid prostitute journalists showed their obscene racism in their reporting on the Black People's Day of Action.

Their headlines screamed:

'The Day the Blacks Ran Riot in London'

'Rampage of a Mob'

'When the Black Tide met the thin blue line'.

The Sun hysterically raved:

'For seven hours a frenzied mob took part in an orgy of looting and destruction in the West End.'

And the Mirror:

'The young thugs attacked anything and anyone that tried to get in their way.'

A Daily Mirror photographer who was busily snapping the attack on a jeweller's shop was beaten up. No doubt his photos would have been used to finger black people and so his camera was smashed. He bleated

'In all my 21 years on the Mirror I have never been in the City without finding the police when I needed them. I was looking for police protection but no police were around.'

No wonder these ruling class servants need police protection. Their reporting of the New Cross Massacre, their blatant lies and their subsequent sensationalist reporting of the Day of Action will make them need it increasingly as the struggle intensifies.

Accuracy was the least concern of the press. The Mail (once again by their Peter Burden who spread the lie that black people were about to be charged with the murders) said that the New Cross Massacre Action Committee was made up of 'Black Pride groups, Women's Lib groups and Left wing organisations of which the most prominent is the Revolutionary Communist Tendency'.

He can only have made up this fairy story since the committee is for black organisations only, a fact which no doubt our racist Mr Burden finds hard to take. The Express said that the March was organised by the 'Campaign against Racism in the Media', a body totally separate from the Committee.

The fact that 15,000 black people were on the streets expressing their justified and righteous anger at the racist murder of 13 children — that fact featured not at all. The fact that they met police obstruction during the demonstration just as they meet police obstruction and attack every day — that fact figured not at all.

It is also a fact that most journalists write their reports in the nearest bar, using police statements. They are overpaid, decadent and cynical — as those who have sold their minds to the ruling class are bound to be. No wonder they react like wounded dogs when they see the oppressed march for truth and justice. It spells the end for them as well as for their masters.

Maxine Williams

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 9 - March/April 1981


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